DAP reserves the right to continue to recognize the original Tunku’s national anthem and to withhold recognition for the third version of Negara-ku in 46 years if it is arbitrarily altered on August 31 without a proper national mandate for change from Negaraku to Malaysiaku
by Lim Kit Siang
(Petaling Jaya, Monday): The News Straits Times today carried a poll of its readers on “Should the Negaraku be renamed Malaysiaku”, inviting responses based on “Yes”, “No” and “Not sure”.
This is definitely a better poll than the one conducted by TV3 News last week which was most unfair and frivolous in posing two choices to viewers through SMS as to whether the Negaraku should be changed after playing part of the national anthem, namely:
(A) . Wajar,
mengikut peredaran masa
This was a most meaningless poll as the two positions offered were highly loaded and biased in favour of a change, as it gave the impression that those who supported change of the national anthem (whatever the change) were progressive people while those who opposed change were conservative and behind-times or silly and simplistic for being “nostalgic”.
What is shocking about both the TV3 and New Straits Times poll is that the people are being asked to make a choice although the new third version of the national anthem after re-arrangement and a new music score have not been played for the public to make a judgment!
Although the New Straits Times poll is a better-crafted and more professional opinion poll than TV3, it is still not proper and professional enough and does not qualify to be an acceptable national opinion poll as it would not have reached all strata, languages and sectors of the nation to be the basis for any change to the national anthem.
Malaysia must learn from the mistakes of the past, when the arbitrary, ill-considered and unauthorized change of the national anthem in 1992 to a marching rhythm was a big flop, which failed to “invoke the patriotic passion” because of the loss of the “essence of the national identity” according to a “high-ranking Information Ministry source” or in the words of a letter to the editor in New Straits Times today, “fails to arouse the kind of zeal normally associated with an anthem”.
The proposed third national anthem should not be presented to Malaysians as a fait accompli on National Day on August 31 as a decision of a handful of people which would be most undemocratic and un-Rukunegara, but must be deferred to a three-to-six month process of national consultation and consensus, including the holding of an objective, meaningful and professional national opinion poll through all language newspapers and not just in New Straits Times.
As the government has admitted that the national anthem has lost the “essence of national identity” with the change to marching rhythm in 1992, the original Tunku Abdul Rahman’s Negaraku on the nation’s attainment of independent nationhood in 1957 should be played on National Day on August 31 while the third version of the National Anthem should be deferred until the outcome of a national consultation process with a proper national mandate for the change.
DAP reserves the right to continue to recognize the original Tunku’s national anthem and to withhold recognition for the third version of Negara-ku in 46 years if it is arbitrarily altered on August 31 without a proper national mandate for change from Negaraku to Malaysiaku.
* Lim Kit Siang, DAP National Chairman